Renzo Piano Building Workshop designed the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. The museum is be located on the site of the refurbished “May Company Department Store” building from 1938. A new “bubble” shaped building was added at the north side with a 1,000 seat theater and a semi-outdoor terrace (1.200 sm / 13,000 sf) with a fully transparent glazed canopy on top.
Transsolar was responsible of ensuring thermal and visual comfort of the fully glazed terrace in the hot and sunny Californian climate. Throughout the year, this space will exhibit milder perceived temperatures compared to outside and not suffer from a green-house effect. Full visual connection to the outside is given.
To avoid overheating and glare, movable internal shading screens are installed with bright outer surface colors to reflect a large proportion of the solar radiation out of the dome. On the inside, a low-E coating ensures that heat radiation onto the terrace is kept to a minimum. The control system closes only those elements of the sun protection that cast a shadow onto the dome's terrace; the other elements remain open to maximize the transparency of the dome and the associated views. At the same time, the textile sun protection is slightly transparent and therefore allows views to the outside even when activated.
Although the sun protection and glazing absorb heat, it cannot reach the users of the terrace because a natural airflow dissipates it: Opposite ventilation openings are located in the dome for cross-ventilation. In addition, sealable roof openings will help to increase the airflow taking advantage of the thermal stack effect. Retractable wind shields help to reduce the air velocities on the terrace and avoid draft situations especially during winter. In addition to all passive measures, the visitors space can be mildly conditioned using a thermal active slab system embedded in the terrace floor.
Transsolar's thermal simulations have shown that this design limits the risk of overheating in summer to approximately 10% of the time of use. In winter, temperatures under the dome are estimated to be slightly cooler than a fully conditioned interior space approximately 1% of the time of use.